debtchart

While spending has decreased over the last several years, the state’s debt is the highest its ever been, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office found in annual budget report issued today.

The contention the state’s debt has grown too high was pushed back on by the governor’s office, which noted the debt to personal income ratio — an important factor in calculating New York’s debt limit — is its lowest in decades.

Still, New York’s debt has reached an all-time high in 2012-13 fiscal year, hitting $63.5 billion even as state spending has decreased by 0.3 percent or $407 million from the previous fiscal year.

“State policy decisions in the past three years have helped New York better align state spending with revenue, but difficulties remain,” DiNapoli said. “The aim should be to build on the progress made and put New York state on a truly sustainable fiscal path. While short-term financial results appear positive, the fact that we are still dependent on temporary resources means the long-term outlook remains challenging.”

More broadly, state spending has increased since 2009, growing 9.5 percent, faster than the rate of inflation.

New York remains the second-most indebted state after California and is ranked fifth among the states.

State-funded debt outstanding stands at $3,246 per person or 6.2 percent of personal income.

Also increasing: state tax receipts, growing 11.3 percent since 2009.

Public health and education spendning remain the biggest pieces of the budget pie, 68 percent of total state spending.

Morris Peters, a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Division of Budget, noted approved budgets has been passed on time and have stayed both within the current debty cap as well as in a self-imposed 2 percent spending limit.

“For the third year in a row we passed an on-time budget that holds spending growth under 2 percent and stays within the debt cap. In every year of the Capital Plan, the debt to personal income ratio has improved, representing the lowest level the State has recorded in decades,” Peters said. “The Governor’s actions to put our fiscal house in order have earned the state a positive outlook from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s as well as helped create 300,000 private-sector jobs.”

2013fcr by Nick Reisman